Other areas in which Numerical Solutions can also provide services can be found on the home page.
While establishing a solid set of requirements seems like a fairly obvious step. It is also a stage which can cost a considerable amount money with out producing tangible results. Thus, ironically, there is a tendency to cut this stage short in an effort to speed up the development process when, in fact, it is being slowed down by giving the product ambiguous design parameters. Ultimately, shortening the requirements analysis phase lengthens the rest of the development stages, and is a true "false economy".
A solid set of requirements can be equated to "the guiding light" in the design process and Numerical Solutions uses this philosophy in all projects.
For more complex situations, Numerical Solutions can provide the necessary consulting, and the proper technical liaison among all parties involved. Bridging the gap between the customers that need a product to solve a problem but may not have the necessary background, and the many computer/control vendors is key to successful embedded product development.
For many small companies outsourcing this type product development is usually the most practical situation. Unless the company is involved in the development of electronic equipment they usually lack most of the personnel and equipment required to logically execute the development process. Buying equipment and hiring personnel can solve this problem, but it can be hard to justify the expense if there is not an ongoing development program in place. Outsourcing brings in the right people with the right expertise to get the job done efficiently. After completion of the product and training of the customers support staff, the expense of the development effort can be completely removed from the company.
This pictures shows a typical embedded development environment. The white box on the left houses a HC11 single board computer with a 128x128 LCD display. Interaction with the development platform is via serial port. The embedded software is written and cross compiled on a PC, and the resulting binary image is then loaded on to an EPROM emulator for execution on the target hardware. In this case the development platform also houses a number of input simulators as well as a power supply.
Data acquisition can be accomplished in variety of different ways. Depending on whether the situation is a "one off" field trial, a SCADA data center, or an OEM data collector product, Numerical Solutions can provide the expertise to find the right solution.
Good empirical data from the field using sound data acquisition techniques can provide a solid basis from which to successfully design an excellent product.
In the above picture, the first prototype Torque Limiter M1 shuts down a PC pump oil well for the first time on high torque. The sometimes messy nature of field testing shows in the picture.
On the positive side, the gains in performance and reliability easily justify the added expense and difficulties. Measuring the cost savings from improved reliability is difficult at the best of times, but it can be summarized in:
Shown above is a simple portable low temperature test chamber in operation. In this case the customer was on a very tight budget that precluded the purchase or renting of an environmental test chamber. Instead, dry ice was used as a cooling medium to test a prototype data logger destined to work outdoors, in the Canadian winters. Test temperatures were below -50°C, with the datalogger continuing to function, while the LCD started to lose readability after -30°C.
A very high levels of physical protection is provided by the extruded aluminum enclosure shown above. While it usually is not necessary, it certainly makes the product significantly more rugged at reasonable cost.